First-ever craft chocolate festival to kick off in Wellington today

Jacob Johnson
Source: 1News

Wellington’s renowned for its coffees and craft beer, but how about craft chocolate?

Chocstock, the country’s first-ever craft chocolate festival, starts in the capital on Saturday.

Eight craft chocolate makers - which make up almost the entire industry in New Zealand - will be on site at Wellington Chocolate Factory for the next two days for the event.

It’s the brainchild of Wellington Chocolate Factory and The Chocolate Bar, an online craft chocolate retailer.

Wellington Chocolate Factory general manager Matt Williams says most companies don’t make their own chocolate, unlike the emerging craft chocolate industry, something he calls a “bean to bar” movement.

“We’re a growing band who make their chocolate directly from cocoa beans,” he said.

The first-ever craft chocolate festival starts today in Wellington.

But Luke Owen Smith from The Chocolate Bar says it’s a growing industry.

“Five years ago, half these guys we’ve got here didn’t exist… it’s a really small industry at the moment, but we hopefully see it going in the same direction as your specialty coffee, craft bar - it’s just really, really early days.”

Organisers say they were relieved the festival could go ahead after Wellington returned to Alert Level 1 earlier this week.

“We were holding our breath,” Williams said. “As you can imagine, a lot of work went into putting this together.”

Thirteen sessions are being held over the course of the weekend, with tickets going for $25 each.

A number of other events are also being held, including beer and chocolate pairing, and whiskey and chocolate pairing.